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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting
August 4, 2016
Hot Springs, VA
"Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods." - H.L. Mencken
The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,163. Gold closed at $1,364 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $41.08 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.54%. Bitcoin is trading around $584 per BTC today.
Election season is now in full swing here in the U.S. - much to the agony of those of us who believe in human liberty, voluntary association, and participatory networks.
Once again the intelligentsia have convinced people that their future hinges directly upon the outcome of the next presidential election, and inevitably we non-voters are denounced for lack of patriotism by the 40% of the population who still place their faith in the voting booth. Naturally, our first reaction is to stand up for ourselves and explain our position:
"The essence of politics is coercion and, if necessary, violence...", we attempt to explain in vain.
"Every single government program and every piece of legislation is coercive in nature and backed by the threat of force. Everyone must comply and/or provide the funding no matter what. It doesn't matter if you think the program is ineffective. It doesn't matter if you are morally offended by the program. It doesn't matter if you would simply prefer to use your hard-earned money for something else. You must comply or eventually men with guns will show up to arrest you and lock you in a cage."
At this point, our voting friend is thinking we are not only crazy, but also dangerous so we attempt to wrap it up in a logical way.
"I just don't think social organization by means of force, coercion, and violence is a very ethical way to structure human civilization. Besides, the record shows it is quite ineffective at doing what it is supposed to do, but very effective at doing what it is not supposed to do."
Being so immersed in our philosophy, we never remember to explain that none of the candidates have proposed a solution to the $200 trillion worth of unfunded government liabilities which virtually guarantee the economic destruction of the current order. Though my election coverage is limited to the headlines at Zero Hedge.com, I am not sure this topic has even come up once.
We also forget to mention that politics is the modern manifestation of Sisyphus' punishment in Greek mythology. For cheating the gods, Sisyphus is forced to push a massive boulder up to the top of a steep hill for the rest of eternity. Each time he gets to the top, the boulder rolls back down the hill and Sisyphus is forced to start his labor all over again.
Well even if the presidential candidates actually represented what they claim to represent, and even if they would actually implement the policies their supporters think they will implement, there is nothing stopping the next successful candidate from undoing it all or going in a different direction a short four to eight years down the road. Which means those who believe in electoral politics must continuously push a massive boulder up a steep hill indefinitely, trampling all those who oppose their ideas in the process.
Maybe that's why only about 40% of the U.S. population actually votes in presidential elections. Today, the U.S. resident population is estimated to be just a hair under 324 million people. In 2010, the population number was roughly 309 million. Across all candidates, 128 million people voted in the 2012 presidential election. This number was down slightly from the 131 million who voted in 2008... which was up slightly from the 122 million voters in 2004.
So you can see that my 40% voter estimate is pretty consistent. Which by the way means that the votes of roughly 21% of the population is all it takes to elect a president. Should 21% of the populace have the right to force their chosen ruler on the other 79%? Something to think about...
To be blunt, this is more-or-less a bronze age model of rulership. Sure, the American founders improved upon the bronze age model of government to a great extent, but the essence of force, coercion, and violence remains the same.
Today, we live in a digital world of constant connectivity and we use space-age technology on a daily basis. I don't think we fully appreciate how radical the technology we all use would appear to our forefathers. It would almost certainly look like magic.
The point is, bronze-age government simply isn't very relevant in the digital age. In fact, it is very harmful.
Now I know that most of those 40% who vote do so because they legitimately believe they are upholding something good, so I don't mean for this journal entry to be condescending. But I do think an emphasis on politics necessarily detracts from a focus on self-actualization.
So today I am going to list ten simple things you can do this election season that will improve your life far more than actually voting in the presidential election.
1. Read Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. This book provides a solid foundation for understanding economics, and it will likely spark you to dive deeper into the subject.
Even if you never read another economics book again, this book will enable you to logically analyze all of the political proposals presented during election season. Spoiler alert: You will find that they all violate the basic laws of economics. Sorry.
By the way, you can read this book for free at the Mises Institute.
2. Now that you have a base understanding of economics, protect yourself from the $200 trillion in unfunded government liabilities by purchasing a tube of American silver eagles and a one-ounce gold coin of your choice. You can do so online at JM Bullion.com and they will ship your order in an unmarked package directly to your door.
If this feels right, buy even more.
Please see Bulletproof Money Management: Employing Expert Asset Allocation for an in-depth guide to buying precious metals.
3. Buy one bitcoin and then learn everything you can about the technology. I wouldn't wait too long on this - negative interest rates are spreading across the globe, and the politicians are hell-bent on banning or restricting cash. Bitcoin may play a prominent role in such a world, and the price to acquire bitcoins will be much higher if and when that is the case.
If this feels right, buy even more.
Please see the Zenconomics Guide to the Information Age for an in-depth guide to buying and managing bitcoins.
4. Begin to build secondary income streams by setting up an Amazon retail business. This is so simple you could teach your mother to do it. Just build a brand around a few related products you use frequently, find a manufacturer who can mass-produce those products cheaply, create your listings on Amazon, and have the manufacturer ship directly to an Amazon warehouse. Amazon will then handle orders, fulfillment, shipping, and customer service for you. All you have to do is keep your store stocked and collect a check. Pretty cool, right?
Now a few products won't make you rich, but they will buy more gold and more bitcoins... and you can always expand once you get the hang of it.
5. Continue to build secondary income streams by creating a few Udemy courses around those topics which you are an expert in. Everybody is an expert in something, and most people are experts in several things. Whatever your expertise, there are people out there interested in it.
Udemy enables 12 million people across more than 100 countries to access your course and learn your expertise. Again, a few courses won't make you rich but they can provide a nice little boost to your cash flow.
Also, like your Amazon business, your Udemy courses work for you 24/7. It's always fun to wake up in the morning and find out that you made a little money while you were sleeping.
6. Improve your vitality by improving your diet, exercise, and posture. "The greatest wealth is health", said Virgil some two-thousand years ago. I think he was right. Life is monotonous unless you have the vitality to enjoy it.
Here's how you can increase your vitality: eat mostly whole foods - meat, fruit, and vegetables - drink lots of water, and limit junk food and soda. That's it. You don't need a rigid diet to eat well, just limit the junk.
As for exercise, 20 minutes of light exercise every day will do wonders for your vitality. And don't forget your posture. Good posture improves energy flow and the functionality of your nervous system which controls every aspect of your wellness.
Simple, right? Get these habits implemented then you can get rid of your expensive health insurance plan and join a quality health cost-sharing network for far less than what you were paying.
7. If you enjoy your increased vitality, begin a chiropractic wellness program. I just started chiropractic myself after watching Wife Rachel and little Madison benefit from it for the past year, and I am tremendously impressed. Increased energy, improved mental clarity, and rejuvenating sleep are a few of the benefits I have experienced so far. I am also having vivid dreams again that I remember upon waking up which has not happened for many years now.
You can very easily pay for your chiropractic program with your cost savings from switching to a health cost-sharing network.
8. Call (not text) one old friend to catch up. Ask them about their life and listen intently to what they have to say. I bet this will be rewarding. If so, call another old friend.
9. Clean and beautify your living space. Make it as invigorating as possible. Someone once said cleanliness is next to godliness. I say your home is your country - make it your sanctuary.
10. Become a disciple of gratitude. Think about this: why is there something here instead of nothing? Why does the universe exist? Why does the Earth exist? Why do you exist?
Think about how complex this universe is, and how amazingly vast it is. Think about how beautiful nature is. Think about how insanely complicated quantum physics is. Think about this: what is the probability of an astonishing number of atoms coming together in a very precise way to form you?
In this context, the trivialities fall away.
Practicing gratitude is difficult, but each time I find myself unhappy or stressed it is because I haven't been a disciple of gratitude. I am most happy when I am thankful. This life is an adventure, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to explore it.
So that's my list. I think these ten ideas are far more valuable than voting in any election.
Even better, these things are completely voluntary; you can do them or not according to your own preferences. No one will force or coerce you into them. You can't say the same about what results from voting...
More to come,
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